Friday, May 26, 2017

Update on VSL#3 and Elimination Diet {VIDEO}

I’ve partnered with VSL#3 to bring you this post. As always, the opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting CNC!

Earlier this month, I shared an update about how things are going on the ulcerative colitis front as well as a few things I’m trying to help keep myself in remission, which includes adding the high-potency probiotic medical food, VSL#3, to my daily routine.

I’ve taken VSL#3 every day for three consecutive weeks, and I’m feeling really great. When I started, my main goal, of course, was to stay in remission, but I also wanted to feel better overall, especially in regards to my energy levels (or lack of!). When I think back to a few weeks ago, my goodness, it’s a night and day difference! I’m currently feeling really well – I’m not falling asleep on the couch or turning into a total grump at night because I’m so drained. I also think my recent diet changes have contributed to my increased energy levels (more on that below), but adding a serious probiotic medical food like VSL#3 has definitely been impactful. Another benefit I’ve noticed is that I’m rarely gassy – I used to experience uncomfortable bloating and gassiness after eating certain foods, but I’ve felt awesome in terms of these kinds of symptoms lately!


In fact, the combination of taking VSL#3 daily and eliminating certain “troublesome” foods and chemicals from my diet has truly been a winning combination for my overall health. I wish I had made these changes sooner! My cravings, particularly for coffee and sugar, have also subsided quite a bit. Sure, I still enjoy coffee and treats from time-to-time, but I don’t feel like they have control over me anymore. It’s nice to actually crave nutritious foods instead coffee and sugar non-stop!


Taking VSL#3 on the regular has been so convenient and an easy addition to my diet. I’m taking both the capsules and unflavored packets – the pills take two seconds to swallow which means they’re great for busy days on the go, but they don’t contain nearly as many live bacteria as the packets. For this reason, I typically opt for the packets first thing in the morning. I simply add a packet to my water bottle and drink it down even before I have my iced coffee. It has a really mild taste – you can barely taste when it’s dissolved fully in water. (FYI: VSL#3 needs to be kept refrigerated to preserve and maintain the high potency and vitality of its billions of bacteria.)


After my experience with VSL#3 over these past few weeks, I now realize that not all probiotics (and bacterial strains) are the same.[1] VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of serious digestive issues including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC), and ileal pouch, and must be used under medical supervision. You can buy other brands over the counter, but they don’t have the same benefits for someone suffering with a serious digestive issue like IBS, UC or ileal pouch. VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medial food that has eight different strains of live bacteria, which makes it one of the most potent probiotics in the world. Adding this specific combination of probiotic bacteria can help you manage your unhealthy gut. If you suffer from a serious digestive condition and have tried general probiotics without success, you may want to consider VSL#3.

Interested in trying VSL#3, but concerned about the cost? Now you can take part in VSL#3’s new Patient Savings Program. Simply print out this VSL#3 Patient Savings Card and bring it to your pharmacist, along with a prescription from your healthcare provider, to save up to $80 each month on your purchase of VSL#3 DS and up to $40 a month on VSL#3 unflavored packets. This is the largest savings ever offered for both VSL#3 and VSL#3 DS. Visit here for more information and talk with your healthcare provider today to take part in the savings program! To purchase VSL#3, visit to find a VSL#3 in local pharmacy near you or order it online at

Question of the Day

Fill in the blanks:

Eliminating ______ from my diet made me feel better.

Adding ______ to my diet made me feel better. 


IBD resources of interest:

Reference: [1] Bertazzoni, et al. Journal of Chemotherapy.25.4.193-212 (2013); Fedorak RN, J Clin Gastroenterol. 42:S3; S111-115 (2008); Lammers KM, et al. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 38:165-72 (2003)

VSL#3® is a high-potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ileal pouch. To learn more visit and LIKE the brand on Facebook.

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food for the dietary management of IBS, UC and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. Please speak with your healthcare provider for any specific questions. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

I Amazed My Doctor with My Primal Diet!

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Back in February of 2015, I went to a health spa in Arizona that I visit once a year. Since I was 40, I decided to get some blood tests done. The results weren’t great. In fact, there were some red flags and I needed to start getting serious about my health and weight loss.

In December of the same year, my husband and I went on a vacation to the Florida Keys and brought our mountain bikes. We were going to start 2016 with exercise and eating right! On the drive home to Michigan, I started looking up different ways to eat right. I had stumbled upon some information that said potatoes are terrible for you and, since I had 23 hours to kill, I decided to dive in and research this new information. That is how I found your website.

before_for_textI had progressively looked into what foods were good/bad and found that Paleo seemed the best route to get healthy. (I actually looked up “are potatoes paleo” and saw that it was an emphatic NO!) Potatoes were very high on the glycemic index…and all this time I thought they were healthy. I ate them as hash browns or cubed in the morning and had them mashed often with dinner as a side dish. I felt like everything I had ever known was wrong! When we got home, we completely cleaned out the pantry and fridge and restocked them with only paleo foods. The results were instant. I dropped 30 pounds in about 8 weeks and kept it off. After the initial two months, the weight loss was slower but still steady. I had a lot more energy and I actually felt healthier.

Just as an example, I will share with you what I changed for breakfast and lunch:

Breakfast: Wild berry smoothie with an egg and cheese sandwich from Panera (54g carbs)
Lunch: veggie salad with croutons and cranberries from Big Salad with tomato basil soup ( 78g carbs)

Just those two meals alone and I was over 200 carbs for the day. I can’t even imagine what my dinners were when we had pizza, spaghetti and meat and potatoes regularly. I still can’t understand why the U.S. RDA says 300 carbs is recommended.

I went back to the spa in Arizona in May of 2016 and got my blood retested. My doctor asked what I had changed and I told her that I went from being a vegetarian to paleo. I told her for breakfast I was eating eggs and bacon with a cup of cashew milk. For lunch I was having salads (hold the cranberries and croutons!) and having chili instead of soup. For dinner I was having steak and steamed veggies and dessert was fruit or some coconut milk “ice cream.” She seemed very concerned. She wanted to recheck my cholesterol immediately. Here are some of the red flag items and the changes that happened in just 5 months. My doctor was shocked and I hoped my results spoke for themselves.

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 10.04.22 AM

after_for_text(Mark’s note: *Recommended normal ranges vary based on several factors. It’s best to talk with your doctor about your particular measures.)

I’m not completely out of the woods yet. I still have a long way to go and I plan on getting another blood test this year. I’m grateful for your website and your knowledge! Although I have strayed a bit a couple of times this last year, I always come back and getting back on track gets easier and easier. My husband (who didn’t need to lose weight being 6’6 and 180 lbs) also commented on how good he feels as a result of these changes.

Our biggest challenges are convenience foods, or rather lack of good grab and go foods. I know that I need to prepare for those moments and I try to but being busy at work and having 3 teenagers, a massive garden and chickens this year, it is proving to be difficult. I need to peruse your website for some more good ideas! Here are a couple of pictures for you. They are pretty close to “before and after” but as I said, I still have a ways to go. Thanks again for letting me share this story.


The post I Amazed My Doctor with My Primal Diet! appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Should You Take a Collagen Supplement? 

Some are claiming that they’ve found the fountain of youth, and it’s in a bottle at your local vitamin shop. Collagen is the newest supplement fad to hit the market, and many are adopting this new craze in the hopes of having tighter skin and less aching in their joints. But does it really do what it promises?


What is collagen?

Quite simply, collagen is the structural protein found in animal connective tissue. As the most abundant protein in the human body, it’s found in skin, muscles, bones and tendons. Collagen is also found in animal meat, so eating is it not new…but bottling and selling it as a supplement is. Many claim that taking collagen supplements will reduce wrinkles, make skin look younger and increase the elasticity in the joints. Yet, collagen is quickly broken down during digestion, so how can any of this be true?


Researchers realized this digestion problem early on and created a unique solution called hydrolyzed collagen. In simple terms, in hydrolyzed collagen, the molecular bonds between the individual collagen strands have been broken down into 19 amino acids. Research has found that this form of collagen is about 85% absorbable by the bloodstream. In other words, you may absorb more collagen when taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements than eating a piece of meat.


What does the research say?

Since collagen supplements are new to the market, the research is still preliminary. But a handful of studies show promising results on the effects of collagen supplementation on skin and joints.


In a recent randomized controlled trial, women aged 35-55 either received 2.5 grams or 5.0 grams of hydrolyzed collagen or placebo once a day for 8 weeks. At the end of the study, the skin elasticity in the groups taking the collagen supplement significantly improved, while the placebo group did not. Another similar study observed 114 women aged 45-65 years as they received a collagen supplement or placebo once a day for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, the group that took the collagen supplement saw a statistically significant reduction of eye wrinkle volume. There are a few other studies that showed similar results, suggesting that collagen supplementation may help skin look younger or prevent against the signs of aging.

Because collagen is a major component of muscles, bones and tendons, it has been also studied for its role in preventing the breakdown of joints. One study looked into the effectiveness of collagen supplementation on treating the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. After thirteen weeks taking a collagen supplement, the researchers found that supplementing with collagen decreased the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Another study observed the effects of collagen supplementation on the joints of athletes — a population that puts high stress on their joints. Subjects were either given 10 grams of hydrolyzed collagen or placebo for 24-weeks. The researchers found that the athletes given the collagen supplement had less joint pain than those that did not receive the supplement.


The bottom line

Research suggests that supplementing with collagen is a safe and effective way to improve the health of skin and joints. But, as with any supplement, it’s best to be cautious. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, making it impossible to know if the supplement matches what’s on the label. Choose brands that use third party testing, like NeoCell, rather than generic brands. And don’t be fooled by extreme claims on the label. While the research on collagen is promising, it won’t undo the effects of smoking, excessive sun exposure or a bad diet. As with any supplement, it should be accompanied by a healthy diet and lifestyle.


Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., is a media dietitian, food and nutrition writer, spokesperson and blogger at Nutrition à la Natalie.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

from Healthy Eats – Food Network Healthy...